Identifying and targeting drivers of extracellular vesicles mediated spread of glioblastoma
An individual diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer has a less than 3% chance of survival in the 12–15 months following diagnosis. Despite extensive research, the cause of aggressive brain cancer is unknown and there is no way to prevent or effectively treat the disease. A new approach to studying brain cancer is long overdue. This project will investigate extracellular vesicles in the brain, and their role in the brain cancer, glioblastoma.
In recent years, small vesicles released by all cells, called extracellular vesicles, have emerged as key players in neurological diseases. Extracellular vesicles are important for two principal reasons: they contain a selection of proteins, RNA and lipids, which act as key players in cell-to-cell communication and can be characterised to provide a snapshot of the parental cell and disease mechanisms.
The proposed project will tap into the wealth of molecular information contained within extracellular vesicles. The first aim of the project is to characterise the physical properties and proteome of exosomes in primary and recurrent GBM. The second aim being to identify mechanisms of exosome mediated spread of GBM using in vitro models.
The student will learn techniques including extracellular vesicle isolation and characterisation, proteomic analysis and cell culture. This will be a collaborative research project with Dr Stan Stylli in the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne.